Yam

Ipomoea batatas

Sweet Potato, sweetpotato , Kumar, Spanish Potato, Brazilian Arrowroot, `Uala

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by luispauperrimo (CC BY 4.0)
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A close up of a white purple Ipomoea batatas flower on a plant
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by luispauperrimo (CC BY 4.0)
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Ipomoea batatas is a tuberous, climbing perennial species resides in the Convolvulaceae family. It is more often grown as an annual plant for the roots. Commonly known by the name Sweet Potato, the tuberous roots, which are consumed widely as food are oblong and have orange to brown skin with cream to yellow to orange flesh. It has excellent yields, vigorous vines and produces a couple of large roots in each bunch. Sweet Potato is used as snack, meal and staple food in many countries, also known by the names Batata, Kumara and Yam in different locations. Both the tuberous roots and leaves may be consumed, they are said to taste like spinach!

Planning

Difficulty

Moderate

Flowering time

Summer

Fruiting time

Summer, Autumn

Harvesting

Tubers are ready to harvest 3-5 months after planting. Stop watering 3 weeks before harvesting to keep mature tubers from splitting. Greens can be harvested throughout the season with light cuttings. Dig up potatoes where the slip was originally planted.

Propagation

Cuttings

Take tip cuttings of about 30-40 cm long with approximately eight nodes. Cut away the lower leaves, as tearing these off may damage the nodes that will produce the roots. Plant cut end in the ground.

Tubers

Place slips 7.5 cm deep, spaced 30cm apart and rows should be about 0.9-1.2 m apart.

Special features

Crop rotation

Rotate with other groups of vegetables before replanting the same area with root crops again.

Wet sites

Tubors can grow in aquatic systems - roots will benefit from the nutrients from fish, clearing the water and the vine will quickly grow out to breath in air.

Attracts bees

Bees are attracted to the flowers.

Attracts butterflies

Butterflies are attracted to the flowers.

Special features

Origin

Southern America

Natural climate

Tropical

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Wet

Soil type

Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Acid

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Edible

The leaves, shoots and tubers are edible. Tubers can be boiled, roasted or cut into chips and the shoots and leaves can be cooked and used as a spinach or green vegetable substitute. High in Vitamins and minerals and effectively used as staple food.

Personality

Family

Convolvulaceae

Flower colour

Purple, White

Scent

None

Problems

Sweet potato can have Fusarium wilt, sweet potato flea beetle and the tubers can be affected by wireworms and nematodes.

Related Problems

Companion plants

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